WITH the unexpected exits of the league “big dogs,” the remaining four teams disputing the ticket to the NBA Finals are relatively young and new. Here are my Conference finals predictions.
Suns (1) vs. Clippers (0)
Historically, teams winning the first game of the series have a 64 percent chance of winning it all. The Suns drew first blood against the Clippers in the Western Conference Finals, 120-114. The Suns are looking like a veteran team in Game 1 led by Devin Booker’s 40-point output. While the Clippers are missing the services of Kawhi, PG has been very steady in the last couple of games for them. If the Clippers can make the necessary adjustments for Game 2 and contain Booker and Ayton, we have a series to watch; otherwise, the Suns will win it in 6 games.
Bucks vs. Hawks
Both teams coming off grueling a seven-game series; the question now, who wants it more? Both teams denied the early title contenders a match and instead booked themselves in the eastern conference finals. Giannis has the monkey off his back with those wins over Miami and Brooklyn. He can now set his sights on becoming the new King of the East and eventually a chance at the NBA Title in his ninth season in the NBA.
The Hawks have over-achieved this season, and they have proven to be a perennial threat to the league’s top teams. Trae Young has already proven that he can hang out with the big boys now. It is an exciting match-up, and I am picking the Bucks in 6 just because of Giannis.
Notes from the Sidelines:
Congratulations to the young Gilas Pilipinas for their 6-0 record entering the FIBA Asia tournament. In this time of too much uncertainty, these young men united the nation. For three games in the Philippine bubble, all Filipino basketball fans calendared their game schedule. We watched how they broke the Korean’s hearts in Game 1 with that game-winning shot.
We witnessed how they executed well against an Indonesian team looking for answers to their onslaught and proved doubters wrong by repeating the win over Korea in their Game 2 match-up.
As tricky as this pandemic has been, Gilas have provided so much joy, inspiration and showcased what Filipinos can be capable of: to come out strong amidst adversity.